Need TV Speakers For My Parents
December 17, 2011 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I need TV speakers for my parents. How do I figure out which ones I need?

My parents are getting a little older and increasingly need to turn the volume on the TV up to hear dialog. We'd like to get them some speakers so that they don't have to turn it up so loud to hear it and could hear from a little further back from in the room.

The TV isn't new and doesn't have HDMI out, so this isn't a "Home Theater" question like this one. Much closer to this one, but even lower tech. We don't want to buy a receiver or amplifier and we'd like to avoid both wires and new remote controls if we can avoid it. We can get AC power to the speakers (speaker?) if we need to, but I just don't know what we need. I'm not there to look, but I believe we only have RCA-out. It's just a basic TV sitting in their living room and we'd like to amplify it. Can you help me figure out what I need?

A little time on Amazon points to the TV Ears brand:

Which is a brand I've never heard of, and I feel like it carries a connotation of "this is for old people" that something like Sony or Bose wouldn't.

So: Any advice on which speaker(s) we should be looking for would be very appreciated.
posted by pmed to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
TVEars are a marvelous solution. My wife and I use them all the time. They are not for old people. But they do help those that do not have perfect hearing.
You can buy them at Costco or online. You plug the little unit into the audio out (composite plugs).
Put the headset on and turn it on and make the volume like you want it.

We have out TV muted. She can watch TV at whatever volume is best and I can read my book and never hear a sound.
posted by JayRwv at 5:25 PM on December 17, 2011

The best thing for older people who are losing their hearing (like my parents) is a surround sound system that allows you to adjust the volume level of individual channels, particularly the center channel. Most 5.1 mixes place dialogue in the center channel, so it can be really nice to just bump that one up and leave the effects channels low so the occasional explosion doesn't blast you across the room. And you probably don't even need to bother with a sub woofer.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:43 PM on December 17, 2011

The ZVOX is great and targets itself to this demographic. It has a feature which boosts dialog for older folks. There are a few different form factors. I have one (the 550) and recommend it highly.
posted by iamscott at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

My friend used a whole bunch of speakers, just in stereo, in his mothers TV room to achieve an easily heard sound at a low volume setting no matter where the listener was in the room.

He took his cue from upscale retailers who will pepper their spaces with speakers, often with each running the same mono signal, so the the sound fills the space completely but at a level that never interferes with conversation.
posted by bz at 7:38 PM on December 17, 2011

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